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I have a chance to go to Burning Man this year, largely thanks to having my Duramax Colorado! The catch is that my Colorado is going to need to tow an industrial power generator from either Seattle or Eugene out to Black Rock Desert. The generator is going to weigh between 5-6k, and along with having a passenger or two plus camping gear for a week and a half in the desert, I'm estimating that the truck will be around 1,000 pounds shy of the GCVWR. All I've done so far with my Colorado are winter/spring ski trips with my 3k travel trailer, but similar distances covered. I'm curious if anybody has had that much of a load going through mountain and desert environments during the summer and how these trucks hold up. Any tips, tricks, and gotcha feedback will be greatly appreciated.
 

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FWIW, driving from Albuquerque north yesterday at mid 90s with an empty truck, my tranny temp kept climbing as i gained elevation. peaked at 196, which isn't too bad but I believe it would have gone much higher if i had a big load or if the climbs had been longer. i'd think transmission temp would be the biggest issue and that if you were willing to take it easy and pull over if it started to get too hot, you could be ok.
 

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Don’t take any vehicle you care about to burning man. The fine dust is alkaline and gets in everything, and causes havoc with your truck’s electronics. It will cause recurring issues and trouble down the road.
 

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I regularly tow to within 300 pounds of GCWR. From Alberta to Moab and back.
I DID add an additional transmission cooler as Trans temp up to 225 degrees over Soldier Pass and the long uphill to Green River.
You can help your truck by limiting speed to 60-65 mph.
Keep an eye on trans temp and start and finish with new air and cabin filters.
 

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I regularly tow to within 300 pounds of GCWR. From Alberta to Moab and back.
I DID add an additional transmission cooler as Trans temp up to 225 degrees over Soldier Pass and the long uphill to Green River.
You can help your truck by limiting speed to 60-65 mph.
Keep an eye on trans temp and start and finish with new air and cabin filters.
I am curious what cooler you installed, how tough it was, and whether there any issues with tranny being too cool (not coming up to optimal temps when you start out or when it's cold weather)?
 

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I am curious what cooler you installed, how tough it was, and whether there any issues with tranny being too cool (not coming up to optimal temps when you start out or when it's cold weather)?
I installed a 7000# plate and fin cooler (can’t remember model or manufacturer) on the inlet line to the radiator.
I did this to not overcool and gel fluid in the cold. This method reduces the heat load on the engine cooling system and may actually warm the trans fluid a bit in the winter.
I mounted in front of engine cross member and spaced 1-1/2” from cross member to allow air flow.
This location may limit air flow a bit but seems to have worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I regularly tow to within 300 pounds of GCWR. From Alberta to Moab and back.
I DID add an additional transmission cooler as Trans temp up to 225 degrees over Soldier Pass and the long uphill to Green River.
You can help your truck by limiting speed to 60-65 mph.
Keep an eye on trans temp and start and finish with new air and cabin filters.
My truck is a 2016, and to my knowledge it doesn't have a transmission temp gauge, just the engine coolant gauge. I recently did the routine oil change and tire rotation, and have a new K&N air filter that I'll plan on cleaning after I get back. Everything else on my truck is mostly stock. 60-65 MPH is all I plan on going at most.
 

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I installed a 7000# plate and fin cooler (can’t remember model or manufacturer) on the inlet line to the radiator.
I did this to not overcool and gel fluid in the cold. This method reduces the heat load on the engine cooling system and may actually warm the trans fluid a bit in the winter.
I mounted in front of engine cross member and spaced 1-1/2” from cross member to allow air flow.
This location may limit air flow a bit but seems to have worked for me.
thank you for that, i may give it a go too. wondering if it kills warranty on drive train?
 

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I've pulled my approx 5000lbs travel trailer (plus wife, dog, etc) up mountains all over the Western US. My tranny temp is typically in the 220º range but have seen 240º when I was going up a dirt road to 10k ft campground. I think 270 is the point where your truck will tell you to pull over and let it cool.

Like others have said, leave the DIC on tranny temp so you can keep an eye on it. I'm not 100% sure you have it (my 2017 has it), but on mine it wasn't shown by default. I had to go into the DIC settings and enable it.

Also make sure you're always in tow/haul mode because it locks up the tranny to reduce temps and wear on the torque converter.

I'd carry some extra DEF, you'll go through it a lot faster when towing that much weight, and it might be hard to find in the desert.

Our engines have lots of torque but not much hp, so be prepared to hang out in the slow lane.

There's actually a whole thread about this: https://www.coloradodiesel.org/thre...oads-you-have-towed-with-your-colorado.65443/

Best of luck and have fun!
 

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I have a chance to go to Burning Man this year, largely thanks to having my Duramax Colorado! The catch is that my Colorado is going to need to tow an industrial power generator from either Seattle or Eugene out to Black Rock Desert. The generator is going to weigh between 5-6k, and along with having a passenger or two plus camping gear for a week and a half in the desert, I'm estimating that the truck will be around 1,000 pounds shy of the GCVWR. All I've done so far with my Colorado are winter/spring ski trips with my 3k travel trailer, but similar distances covered. I'm curious if anybody has had that much of a load going through mountain and desert environments during the summer and how these trucks hold up. Any tips, tricks, and gotcha feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Don't just pull over, best to slow down and keep fluids moving. The last thing you want to do is stop and shut down, temps can spike and cause damage. Keep fluids moving.
 

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I have a chance to go to Burning Man this year, largely thanks to having my Duramax Colorado! The catch is that my Colorado is going to need to tow an industrial power generator from either Seattle or Eugene out to Black Rock Desert. The generator is going to weigh between 5-6k, and along with having a passenger or two plus camping gear for a week and a half in the desert, I'm estimating that the truck will be around 1,000 pounds shy of the GCVWR. All I've done so far with my Colorado are winter/spring ski trips with my 3k travel trailer, but similar distances covered. I'm curious if anybody has had that much of a load going through mountain and desert environments during the summer and how these trucks hold up. Any tips, tricks, and gotcha feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I have a 2016 Colorado which has 130000 miles on it. I tow my boat dry is 5200 and 2000 lb trailer I’m at or a little above capacity. The truck tows awesome
I’m in the north east. Have mountains and hilly terrain. Not likely like your area but it been a great little tow vehicle
 

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Are you sure that tow mode locks up converter? I understood it just changed shift points and activated engine braking.
I've pulled my approx 5000lbs travel trailer (plus wife, dog, etc) up mountains all over the Western US. My tranny temp is typically in the 220º range but have seen 240º when I was going up a dirt road to 10k ft campground. I think 270 is the point where your truck will tell you to pull over and let it cool.

Like others have said, leave the DIC on tranny temp so you can keep an eye on it. I'm not 100% sure you have it (my 2017 has it), but on mine it wasn't shown by default. I had to go into the DIC settings and enable it.

Also make sure you're always in tow/haul mode because it locks up the tranny to reduce temps and wear on the torque converter.

I'd carry some extra DEF, you'll go through it a lot faster when towing that much weight, and it might be hard to find in the desert.

Our engines have lots of torque but not much hp, so be prepared to hang out in the slow lane.

There's actually a whole thread about this: https://www.coloradodiesel.org/thre...oads-you-have-towed-with-your-colorado.65443/

Best of luck and have fun!
 

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At a
minimum pull the two panels off that cover the bottom of the radiator, you can access the from the bumper. Very simple to do. Dropped my temp when towing.
 

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I have a chance to go to Burning Man this year, largely thanks to having my Duramax Colorado! The catch is that my Colorado is going to need to tow an industrial power generator from either Seattle or Eugene out to Black Rock Desert. The generator is going to weigh between 5-6k, and along with having a passenger or two plus camping gear for a week and a half in the desert, I'm estimating that the truck will be around 1,000 pounds shy of the GCVWR. All I've done so far with my Colorado are winter/spring ski trips with my 3k travel trailer, but similar distances covered. I'm curious if anybody has had that much of a load going through mountain and desert environments during the summer and how these trucks hold up. Any tips, tricks, and gotcha feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I just moved from Southern California to Nashville TN. I had no choice but to pull my trailer with my 2018 ZRR Duramax. ZR2 has 33” tires and a aftermarket air intake and filter. Trailer weight verified at 6,800 with 500 in the bed. Ran 75 most of the time averaged for the trip 62 mph. ZR2 started the trip with 6700 miles on it. Truck ran great. Water temp never over about 212f and trans never got over 230f. Corrected mpg with tires 14.3mpg. I loaded the trailer to have 600 Tongue weight. Truck barely squats. Was so surprised how great it towed. Much easier then my last trip 2 weeks before with my 2005 Dodge 2500HD Cummins pulling 14000 with a lance camper on it. Even my 80 year old dad felt the ZR2 was very stable.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So an update. I had an interesting surprise when I picked up the generator. It actually weighed only 4,000 pounds with a full tank of diesel. The confusion about it being 7,000 pounds came from that particular number was the trailers max GVW. My truck had ZERO issues. 20 MPG with the trailer plus a crap ton of camping gear in the bed plus the back seats. It effortlessly pulled up both Mt Hood Highway and Cedar Pass. And being that I went to Burning Man, it was a riot of a good time!
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